tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN August 5, 2014 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT
and others not so well. again, we were not experts in how washington works so when we were told, no, our answer was, well, why not? i remember distinctly having a conversation with one member of conwhere i said, well, i don't understand why you won't investigate my mom's murder if i pulled out a gun and shot you right now the police would do an investigation. that was a mistake. his staff got a little tense and i had to explain, no, i'm not saying i'm going to do that but we're saying we don't understand what the difference is. i never did that one again. we had meetings in the white house where we -- with very high senior level officials who i don't think are used to being asked why not? they had to get used to that with us. and one of my favorite meetings and i the other 9/11 family members will laugh about this, when a member of congress hid in his office because he didn't want to talk to us and we told him we could hear him breathing behind the door and he had to
come out. so that, for us, was the process of creating the 9/11 commission. so you can imagine that when we finally did create it and it was signed into law by president bush the day before thanksgiving in 2002. for us, that was the beginning again. and this time, we had to meet the commissioners. who are these people? there were a few bumps in the road along the way and when we got introduced to governor cain and congressman hamilton, we knew that we were in good hands and of course with we met the rest. we have richard and fred fielding. jamie, jim thompson, unfortunately bob kerry and jjo lehman couldn't be us today. we knew we had great team of people and i had to say at the beginning of the 9/11 commission i couldn't imagine i would be standing here today and be so honored to introduce the
remarkable americans. the individuals that not only came together 12 years ago to start their investigation into 9/11, and ten years ago to stand behind the unanimous report. they're still here today. it's their duty as citizens to do whatever they can to make our nation stronger and safer and more secure and i'm honored to be able to introduce them all as they release they're new report. so with that, i'm going to invite governor cain and congressman hamilton up to the stage. they're going to give a few remarks and then we'll open it up for all commissioners for q and a. thank you very much. >> carolyn has been the spark plug for the whole thing. kerry, thank you very much for everything you've done to make the day possible. so, good morning. thank all of you. thank all of you for coming this morning. we're here to mark the 10th
anniversary of the 9/11 commission report. a document that led to, as you know, major reforms. and the which we do intelligence in this country. but we come together today to present to the public a new paper of the 9/11 commissioners entitled "today's rising terrorism and the danger to the united states." reflections and the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 commission report. first, i want to thank my co-chair man, lee hamilton and all of the commissions. i'm sorry a couple of them were not able to be here today but eight of the ten are here. and they are remarkable group of people and the most remarkable group of people i've ever had the pleasure to wark with. all ten of them, gentlemened, by the way, by republicans, five democrats, agree with every word in the report what we're representing this morning.
a special thanks to the bipartisan policy center. they are the hope of our homeland security security project now for almost six years and we're grateful for their key roles in making this whole report possible. and we're grateful to catherine jamson and the annenberg policy center. they made important and substantive contributions along the way. michael herly and adam coastline helped us immensely in the drafting of the document and grateful for many other former 9/11 commission staffers who voluntarily pitched in along the way to make this report possible. we also want to recognize and we've talked about it and we should talk about it a lot, the contributions of the leaders of the families of 9/11. we're humbled about everything you've done and the fact that here you are once again, here today, we used to refer to you as the wind in our sails.
and ten years later you're here with us again and we're very, very grateful. last fall, we began considering how we might observe the tenth anniversary. first the idea of getting ourselves together and then the idea if we got ourselves together, maybe we could do something useful. so we all wanted to look back at our own work ten years ago and we think there may be lessons, washington is poison as we all know, baerpsship. which enables us to do almost nothing in this town these days. the lesson, somehow and how five republicans and five dats got together to do something that was useful for the country ten years ago. we also believe very strongly with the one area where no partisanship should ever exist is in protecting this country. and we have to have bipartisanship in that area. the paper released this morning as a result of more than eight months of thinking, study and
spirited conversation. to better inform ourselves, we reached out to many of our country's most senior, current and former officials, whose responsibility for counter-terrorism. and everybody reached out to was cooperative, helpful, frank with and honest in their discussions of the problems affecting this country and the problems of protecting us from the threat of terrorists abroad. we came away from that experience with renewed admiration for very dedicated public servants. we have a separate conversation with each of these leaders and yet, as you see in our report, we were struck that there was a broad agreement among these leaders about what the current problems we're facing the country and some of the solutions to attacking those problems. that's represented in our report. we hope we succeeded in doing our paper to amplify for the public what these common threads were and the consensus of the intelligence community on the
problems. at this point, i'd like to ask not just my co-chair man and all the efforts, but my close friend, lee hamilton, who was instrumental in every one of these efforts to talk for a minute and summarize what we learned to keep the paper and then we're going to invite our fellow commissioners to answer questions. lee? >> good morning, to all of you. i've always threatened to set up a hall of fame for public servants. we have hall of fame for guitar players we ought to have them for public servants as well. and when that hall of fame is set up, i'm going to recommend that these other nine commissioners go in on the first ballot. they are an extraordinary group of americans led by tom cain, of course, and a high privilege for me to be a part of it.
our report really breaks down into three parts. the first talks about the evolving threat. the second part talks about the policy challenges. and the third part talks about the recommendations. i won't go into great detail and hit the highlights in each of these areas. we begin by saying that the government has done a good job. not a perfect job. over the lasten the years in protecting us from terrorist attacks. we've experienced tragedies like fort hood and the boston marathon bombings. but we've not suffered anything at all like 9/11 and the magnitude of that attack. our military and intelligence forces have done great damage to the afghanistan-based core al qaeda. that attacked us. most notably killing osama bin laden thee years ago.
these really are significant achievements. we are concerned, however, that the tension is drifting to other matters. that the country may be suffering from a waning sense of urgency with respect to the terrorist attacks or possible attacks. it's imperative we believe that we guard against that. despite our achievements, the threat of terrorism persists today. al qaeda spinoffs that share it's extreme ideology and hatred of the united states have proliferated and are now operational in normfo more than chris and now the islamic state of iraq and syria which has conquered much of western iraq, slaughtering thousands along the way. territory it holds greatly expands the sanctuary for
terrorists. and increases the threat to the united states and the west. while that group has been a growing threat over the last months and years it's accelerated advances suggest that the world has become an even more dangerous place in the last few days. and weeks. dozens of americans and as many as a thousand europeans have traveled to syria to join in the conflict. the danger is very real that they may redirect their battlefield skills. that they have acquired and return to our shores to attack us. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, possess advanced bombmaking skills which have been passed to extremists in syria and iraq.
that poses a serious threat to us in particular, of course, to commercial aviation. homeland terrorism with that is terrorist attacks launched by so-called lone wolves who have been radicalized over the internet, is another rising danger. the 9/11 commissions recommendation centered on how to protect this country from terrorism, our recent conversations with a large number of national security leaders, have highlighted another major threat to the country. and that is, of course, the relentless cyberattacks from foreign countries and criminal elements. the vulnerability of our cybersystems and the most vast stealing of intellectual property over the internet pose a huge national security challenge. our cyberdefenses and strategy lag behind the threat we face in the cyberrealm.
in the last ten years, the scale of government data collection has boomed. data collection and analysis are vital tools to preventing terrorist attacks. but effective counter-terrorism must be balanced against civil liberties. vigorous oversight of collection activities by the congress and the courts is urgently needed. it is the government's burden to explain to the public what is being done by the government and to persuade the public that the tools being utilized are absolutely necessary and that the balance is being struck between security and privacy. congress's committee structure for overseeing homeland security continues to be dysfunctional.
we use that word in the report. it was not originally our word. it came to us for members of congress in key positions. this is episodic, inadequate and threatens our national security. this dysfunction has lasted for far too long. our friends at the annenberg public policy center and the justice society have run in recent days, this ad in the newspaper giving you the flow chart, if you would, of oversight, some 90 committees that have oversight over homeland security. that, of course, is completely unacceptable. on the positive side, the director of national intelligence and the national counter-terrorism center are insuring that the various intelligence agencies work
together and there has been real improvement there. that's progress. as tom noted the report also reflects on how we did our work a decade ago. calls for bipartisanship often go unheeded. we hope our reflections point in the direction of how our political leaders might come to agreement on the difficult terrorism challenge we face today and in the future. surely, our political leaders can forego their political polaration to better protect the united states and all americans. in many ways, we're safer today than we were a decade ago. but the threat continues and is urgent. the generational struggle which we referred to in our original
report against terrorism, has entered a new phase. and the world is a -- remains a very dangerous place. we cannot let our guard down. now, i'd like to turn to other members of the commission for any comments they would like to make. and i will call them as they're ready to proceed. governor thompson, at the end. >> we thank you and chairman cain, thank you. first, i'd like to say that participating in the work of this commission has been one of the greatest honors of my public life. not only the challenge we are undertook but the men and women who went to work on it as lee said, in extraordinary bipartisan fashion. which leads me to sometimes, a
very sad place and it's appropriate that we're in washington today. as yen everyone on the stage would acknowledge, it's almost embarrassing to contemplate that the congress of the united states where i has protected this nation since its birth, cannot seem today, to protect the american people by coming together to enact those laws which everyone must conclude and which bear no partisan label. i accept that our nation is divide, papers by party and perhaps by philosophy on issues like abortion and gay rights and taxation and highway programs and all of the other things with which the congress deals but surely, surely, there is no
republic or democratic position on making sure that people who come to the united states with terrorist ambitions don't stay here and plot the failure of this yes to haveb have bio metrt prm so we know is here in violation of the law and who may harbor this towards our nation. i don't understand that. i don't understand why the congress of the united states has not come together on the issue of cybersecurity which lee mentioned. every american has either had an experience where they've been hacked or the people with whom they deal have been hacked. and we've all had to change passwords or get a new credit card. and if we haven't experienced it
personally we've read about it. and is there any reason in the world why the congress cannot enact comprehensive cybersecurity law to protect us? not only from the criminal hackers, from the terrorist hackers. and from nation states who give aid and comfort. to the terrorists. so just speaking as a citizen, i'd like to see the congress of the united states put aside all the nonsense, all the appeals to the base. all the prancing around and come together to protect this nation. that is the first obligation of government. the first obligation. nothing else can be done for this country if we are not secure. and to this point, the congress
of the united states is failing us and fami failing us badly. >> thank you, jim. other commissioners? tim rohmer. >> i'd like to say briefly, three things. first of all, i would like to recognize the extraordinary leadership of tom cain and lee hamilton. from the very first meeting that we had on the 9/11 commission when they pledged to do virtually everything together, never appear on a tv show without the other one. their lessons to the rest of us, to the eight other commissioners were extraordinarily profound. that with had been attacked. that we had lost almost 3,000 of our citizens. and that we were going to get to the bottom of it and work across
partisan lines and produce a report that would make america safer. and all the way through lee and tom showed this great leadership for the commission and for our country. i also wanted to say to my fellow commissioners i've been blessed with a lot of different opportunities to serve our country whether it's been in congress or overseas, i can't think of anything that is touched my heart, my soul and my brain and learned more than from the people that have worked with over the past ten years and i salute you all. and thank you for your leadership for our country. and i want to recognize the 9/11 family members. the people who helped us kre update to look no what happened
and why. if mary, carol and abe and kerry and all of you hadn't been there and if it hadn't been for all of you getting only planes and trains literally in the middle of the night and coming down to washington, d.c. from your homes in new york and connecticut and all over the country to help make our country safer by breaking down these barriers of partisanship and politics and campaigning, rather than putting our national security front and center. and i want to, again, thank these 9/11 family members that
have made extraordinary contributions to our country. second, i just want to say that the challenges that the united states of merck faces today to understand to be smart about the changes taking place in the world, before we're attacked again is one of the most important lessons in our report. we have isis taking over large areas of territory in the middle east. syria is a incubator for terrorist training and hatred around the world. people starting to come back from these training grounds and into the united states. al qaeda now, pre 9/11, in a few countries, now they're in 16 countries around the world. this is a new dangerous phase
that the united states of america is entering into. and so our congress, our white house, our policymakers, must work together to understand these very significant challenges to the safety of the united states. jim mentioned cybersecurity. and how important that is. we have a litany of different areas that are policymakers must pay greater attention to. and last, as a former member of congress, someone who served in the great midwest, for six terms, and someone who believes that as our founding fathers called it, if first branch of government, and, sadly, today, it's the last branch that people in our country are looking for to solve our problems. that cannot be the case as we see these challenges.
cyber, isis, al qaeda, poised and ready to attack our country again and possibly, create another 9/11 type of attack. so we encourage congress and we'll have a panel on the to take this seriously, to reorganize the mass of bureaucracy they have on the department of homeland security. that is bigger oversight today of what we have for oversight, i believe, for the department of defense. of 500 billion defense program with a smaller number of committees overseeing it than the department of homeland security where we have 92 different committees and subcommittees fragmented, dysfunctional and potentially destructive, to our national security. with that, again, i look forward to the question and answer and
appreciate the opportunity to speak to everybody. >> thank you, tim. >> any other commissioners? >> fred fielding? >> let me just say one thing and, again, i hope that you get a sense of the pride that this group has. because everyone always asks, how did you reach you thnthat unanimity on your report when you look at a commission that was designed to fail. splitting it equally with a democrat and republicans in an election year, how did that happen? and i think you can get a sense of how it happened by listening to the eloquence and warmth that comes from the members of the commission. this was a universally wonderful experience for all of us and certainly, one that gave us a lot of pride and, also, was
very, very rewarding. i want to mention one thing because this happened before and it will happen again if i don't say this. and that is, the list that we have of recommendations, as the list we gave before, is not a list to pick from. these are things that each has its own individual importance and each cries out for resolution and study. and so, as you look at our report, as you did before, and look at the recommendations we didn't do this just to fill the space. every one of those is important. and again, to my fellow commissioners and to co-chair, thank you for a wonderful experience. >> thank cow, fred. other commissioners? thank you, fred. other commissioners? if not, we'll proceed with the program. thank you very much. did you want to say a word,
jami jamie? >> question from the audience? okay. i thought maybe you wanted to -- let's open it up for questions. we'll begin here and, please, speak up. in covering this issue for the last ten years and watching -- and covering this issue for the last ten years and watching how the world has changed 70s then, it occurs to me that in the last few years, things are happening faster. more things are happening faster. so the question that i have is based on a conversation that i had with general flynn from dia
about a year or so ago when he told me that the law doesn't apply. the law of technology that says things change every two years, it seems as though it's every few months. how does that affect the challenge that's facing the nation's leaders in terms of protecting the u.s. against these rapidly evolving threats like isil and others? i'll take the answer from anybody. >> we're going to proceed under rules which allow me to answer the easy questions and i'm going to give the tough questions up here so we'll start from the commissioner's here. s that a tough question. >> tom? >> the answer is, you got to be more nimble than you've been before. bureaucracies, any government bureaucracy is by the nature of that bureaucracy, slow in action. and that's why it's called a
bureaucracy. you can't afford that any more in homeland security. you've really got to be nimble. the idea that when we wrote a 9/11 report ten years ago, we didn't -- we didn't mention cybersecurity. nobody even mentioned cybersecurity in our deliberations as i remember. it was a -- not a big problem. now it's a problem every single person we interviewed they said should be right up front. and not only right up front but dealing which the properly. it's the world is changing as we speak. we said in the report that if a iraq became a failed state it moved right to the top of the problems. in the last months we've seen wrooerk becoiraq -- our intellie
areas, congressional oversight, we have to be probably more nimble here than almost any other area because it will change all the time. there are new terrorist groups now that didn't exist ten years ago that we've got to be concerned about. there are new weapons we have to be concerned about. there were new explosives we have to be concerned about. so to answer your question, we've got to have our best and most nimble fingers in this area of homeland security. and they've got to be willing to use what we called in our report, a imagination. there could be no more failures of imagine that's. we got to get ahead of these guys, not behind them. >> jamie? >> i would add two points to tom's very good answer. as fred said, we did not present a menu of things that we think need to be done. we think all of them need to be done and right up there is the reorganization of the oversight of our homeland security
process. when i was general council at dod, the chairman of the joint chiefs was in a regular dialogue with the oversight committee's in the house and senate. two of them. the chairs and ranking members of those committees into what he was thinking and he knew what they were thinking. we don't have that with regard to homeland security. you couldn't do that if you wanted to. we'll have an opportunity to talk to chairman mike mccall on the house side in a little while. but i think it is -- if you look at the chart that lee hamilton held up, it would be impossible to have a sense on the executive branch side of what would be acceptable in congress in a short period of time, with the structure that we have. so the agility that tom talked about, is critical. you need organization on the
executive branch side but you also need a fully armed partner on the congressional side and i don't think we have that. as to the rapidly-evolving technology. we all understand that and what is useful today may not be useful tomorrow and things we can't even -- i'm sure they will. but what we're looking at is a framework within which government and the private sector can accommodate each other's interests in preventing cyberattacks does the military of the united states or nsa possess knowledge, experience, that can be useful to the
private sector, the banks? utilitie utilities? all of whom can expect some kind of cyberattack because it's happened before? the answer is, yes. do we have a framework in the united states where the military, the nsa other branches of government can sit down with the private sector whose interests are vital to the welfare of the united states and work together so everybody is protected to the extent that current technology will allow. the answer is, no, we don't have that. why don't we? i don't understand. there can't with be a republican or democratic position on this. i can't imagine that.
is this more important than that? please tell me what it is. that's one of the answers, too. >> tim rohmer? >> quickly, your question is very important. not to a bullet train but to a speeding bullet, almost literally. and we're seeing, now, terrorists that terrorists that used to go to training camps in the northwest territory of pakistan and be trained and radicalized and potentially go to their targets and today, they're radicalized in months or weeks over the internet. so the speed of change and the speed of radicalation and the speed of cybertechnology to attack our banks, our c-17 programs, our f-22 programs and steal information in our security, is incrediblebly rapid
and quick. so as tom said, we can't afford to put bureaucracies to fight these nimble networks. we need networks to fight networks, not bur rock i ises to fight networks. >> the audience now for questions. we'll go back here. please identify yourself. >> prior to the attacks on 9/11, groups responsible had received aid from us back when the soviets were occupying afghanistan. today we're associated with groups of a after we took over libya after we bombed the hell out of it, probably we've
facilitated the rise of i isil through our training of the sort of insurgents we hoped would take over in syria. are y'all concerned that we are facilitating the growth of groups that will be the enemy. prove to be. enemy. >> i think if the sensational commissioners are being very reluctant on that one. >> i think if we had been a little more nimble in our facilities in dealing with the issue in syria we might have prevented some of the more radical anti-administration syrian forces from gaining the
strength that they have. but we deliberately chose not to encourage those who we thought who are quote, moderate, end quote, if you can apply that to a military force fueled by ideology. we didn't give them the weapons. that the military, i think, thought they should have. and so while there may be some truth in what you're seeing, i don't think it's appropriate to go back to the aid that we gave in afghanistan and the joy -- it doesn't have a lot of relevance to the chamg challenges we're f
now. >> senator gordon? >> ten years ago this group decided that it could be of value only if it looked forward more than backward. and in our report we did not criticize the individuals or -- the administrations for what had happened in the past by the use of 20/20 hindsight and as you look at what we're doing here today we've adopted the same philosophy. we give a good deal of credit and i think the credit is deserved, to the responses of our country and of our administration to 9/11. and we know that the challenge has changed very, very substantially and already many answers on the threat of
cybersecurity. but our recommendations look forward, saying how we can be safer in the future. how we can deal with these challenges in the future. and it's only by looking forward rather than backward with criticism that we can be of value. we hope that congress takes our recommendations seriously. and acts on them seriously. but it will do that best by looking forward rather than backwards. >> one thing to have in mind and the kquestion is the nuance ares and that we, looking forward we are need to learn from history. and i suppose that the question
of support for the rival and the enemy soviets, is instructive in that once aid is given, once weapons are transferred, there's no guarantee about how they would be used. and so i think that is proved instructive in the current situation so that letting go of arming and arming various factions does not guarantee how those arms and training will ultimately be used in an area that is so intensely nuanced and difficult to predict. >> your question points out to me that just the complexity of the middle east.
there are so many different groups out there. there are so many cross currents that are taking place. so many shifting alliances that it's a very there's no one in the united states government that wants to facilitate an enemy. but you're caught in an exceedingly complex world. every day i pick up the paper and read about support the opposition to syria. there are 1500 opposition groups in syria. well, you sort through those for a while. see who's going to help you and who's not going to help you. which we've been trying to do for several years, of course. so it's a complexity. i'm told we have time for one more question and i'll have to go over here. okay? >> good morning. business executives for national security. the changing nature of the threat that you identify my
lights the highlights the importance of information and sbl generals collected domestically and disseminated domestically. who is charge of domestic intelligence and how do state, local and federal looirnlt fit into your findings? federal law enforcement fit into your findings? >> well, you raise a very good question and it's something which we have talked about. there's far more sharing ten years after our report then there had been and that's very good news from all quarters that we've talked to. we hear good marks given to the integration of material and the sharing of information. the state and local authorities are the greatest area for enhancement of force protection
and so, while there have begun to be greater efforts made to share information, more needs to be done as we say in our report, to bring state and local authorities into an integrated national approach. so it is something that we talked about. we're headed in the right direction. there's more to be done. >> we'll be hearing shortly from the director of national intelligence and there's been, as richard says, a lot of progress here. the intelligence community as you all know, is a very vast community. billions and billions of dollars, many, many leaders. and the extent of integration in the last ten years is really been quite remarkable. so there's much morer cohesion than in previous times. but it's a work in progress. and we have to keep working at
it. who has in charge of the intelligence community is question that invites all kinds of answers. the director of national intelligence, we believe, has performs he is function very well. has done a lot toward integrating the community, coordinating the community and he'll be speaking to us very shortly. i think that's our time up for questions, kerry. we'll turn it over to you to get moving along here. thank you. >> at this point we'll transfer to the first panel so i'll invite all the commissioners to come off the stage and please, except for jamie since she's going to be leading our discussion. we're very pleased today to be joined by chairman mccall and i'll leave it to jamie to do a proper introduction of the chairman but i wanted to say a few words as we make the transition, that this panel is about the state and evolution of
the current threat. as many of you in the room know, the homeland security project at the bpc has started an annual series of reports. assessing the threat called "the threat assessment." last year we released the first one. it was authored by peter bergen, bruce hoffman and mike occurly who is here with us today. we're planning to release a new one with peter bergen this september. we obviously, based on the report released today and the work we've been doing throughout the past few years, realize that the threat is evolving. and we know that our nation needs to make sure it's evolving it's counter-terrorism measures accordingly. and no group is doing that more thoroughly than the house homeland security security kwom and not only are we joined by the chairman, chairman mccall but by members of his staff in the audience. we thank them for our hard work in keeping our nation safe and secure and we know they often do
it without being recognized so we're glad they're here with us today. i also want to take a quick opportunity to thank the members of the 9/11 commission staff who are here with us today. many of them have gone on to continue serving their country in a wide range of positions and we're just so glad they could take time out to be here to on more the report that they work so hard on ten years ago. with that, i'm going to turn it over to commissioner jamie to introduce chairman mccall and begin a discussion on the state and evolution of the threat. thank you. thank you, kerry. we're honored to have chairman mike mccall with us. no one better suited to discuss tissues we raised in our tenth anniversary report. the chairman is a ten-year veteran of congress. representing a really robust and interesting district in texas. he has a background that is really quite perfect for the
role. at least in my view since i'm a lawyer and a former justice department official and he served in that department with distinction. and is quite familiar with some of the mechanisms by which weigh keep our country safe. so, thank you, mike, for being here and for helping us think through some of these issues today. i think lied like to start where we -- where the conversation just left off. and put on the table this question of who is responsible for protecting us in a very complex environment. in our report, we made a couple observations as lee hamilton just said. we talked about the success as we see it of the director of national intelligence structure, finally getting to a place where there is cohesion among the agencies. we talk about the importance of
the collection of information in a world in which intelligence and intelligence analysis is really our best tool to dealing with the threat. we talk about the talk about the national counterterrorism center which brings together that information and which is quite successful and the modeling that the president does for his intelligence agencies. by personally calling them together on a regular basis to share information with him and with each other. and so those are the observations in very brief in our report and i'm wondering if you could comment on the state of our integration and the robustness of our ability to protect ourselves. >> thanks for having me. let me thank the bipartisan policy center for holding this. members of the commission, i read their report.
the report after 9/11 that the commission gave ten years ago, was for the most part, implemented and we'll talk about some pieces that were not. and i want to thank the members of the commission for this report here today. that i think members of congress will take back to the hill. i want to thank them for their resounding endorsement for the current united states congress as well. and we can talk about that -- >> it's bipartisan. >> and i want to thank jamie for having me. she, as you know, was dew pointy attorney general for the united states. i was just a lowly federal prosecutor at the time at main justice but i remember that she was very much i force within the department. and now on an even level back then she was way up here and i was way down at the bottom in the public integrity section.
everything i have attempted to do in my committee, in fact, everything unanimously. and i think that is important. i think governor thompson made the great point that this is an area that should not be a partisan issue. when it comes to protecting the american people and saving lives. so whether it was our cyber security bill that passed unanimously that hopefully will be on the floor in the next month, or whether it was our border security bill, which if you read the papers lately, there's a bit of a crisis ongoing down there, hopefully that will be part of our supplemental coming out. that also passed unanimously and i believe that's a very important factor because, you know, i think as many have said, al qaeda doesn't have any partisan affiliation. they have one thing in common, and that's they want to -- they
have a deep-seated hatred for the western united states, and they still, unfortunately, want to kill us. the threat has evolved. when i first got elected chairman, i landed in washington. they said, chairman, there's been a bombing in boston. and i think the boston example sort of illustrates a new sort of evolving threat that we are seeing in terms of radicalization over the internet, in terms of smaller scale operations. the good work the 9/11 commission did, i think, stopped by connecting the dots and using imagination, as you alluded to, stopped a lot of these larger scale attacks like a 9/11 style attack. that would be very, very difficult to pull off in today's world the way the intelligence committee is set up and the homeland security department. i think these small-scale attacks, very difficult to deter and detect and disrupt, and probably more likely the evolving threat you're going to see. and then isis, which has been talked about extensively, this
marriage, if you will, between aqap al asiri, the bombmaker, premiere al chi to bomb maker, and the force we're seeing now in iraq and syria with isis, with al nusra, is a huge threat. the secretary will tell you the biggest threat to the homeland and to the aviation sector. so i think that's going to be very important for us to focus on. the safe havens -- and i'll just stay with this because i know you want to do a lot of q&a. but people ask me, are we safe? in some respects we're safer thanks to the good works of the 9/11 commission. we have implemented the majority of those recommendations. but it's an evolving threat that in some respects we are not safer because al qaeda owns more territory now today than it ever has. in 16 different countries, as you heard, all these different
affiliates, al shabaab, al sharia. it's important how al qaeda says isis is too extreme. imagine the day an al qaeda affiliate would say it's too extreme for al qaeda. that is easy to demonstrate a califate, they call it, in that region. i think far surpassing what we saw in iraq, pakistan, as far as training grounds and safe havens. it's much easier to access, and i think the key point to these fighters is they have clean, legal travel documents. we have hundreds of americans, we have thousands of europeans, we have australians in there. and they're pouring in every day for the fight. and some people will tell you who they all are. i will tell you that we don't, with a high degree of certainty. with that is a threat not only to western europe but also, i think, to the united states.
so there are so many threats. i can talk about cyber for probably 30 minutes, but cyber, one of those things that keeps you up at night, because you know we have tremendous capability to shut things down. that capability in the wrong hands like iran, which has already tried to shut down our financial institutions, that they're out there, that the chinese are stealing through espionage. we've had the largest transfer of wealth ever, according to the nsa director, in the criminal ip theft. we just picked up a russian who was indicted in seattle, washington. billions of dollars of intellectual property theft, credit card theft in the united states. this is a real threat. i hope this bill that we got out of committee will pass in the next month, because it's something the country really needs right now. >> let me go back for a moment
to the situation in iraq and syria where you have observed that there are probably thousands of european fighters and in the neighborhood of 100 or so american fighters there. if an individual bearing a u.s. passport or a european passport where they gain entry to the united states via the visa waiver program can travel here with impunity, what are our resources for, a, identifying those people and "bq," stopping them? and do we have both the legal authorities that we need and the capacities that we need? >> that's an excellent question. i think one reason you haven't seen a large scale 9/11 style attack is that we've gotten pretty good at stopping the enemy from coming into the united states.
this is going to be key. number one, how can we identify these threats in syria and iraq? either al nusra tied to aqap, or those that have intentions to harm the west? you have to start first with intelligence. i'll be the first to tell you our human intelligence not where it needs to be on the ground in syria. now, we're getting better reconnaissance as to where these actors are, but in terms of identifying them on a personal case-by-case basis, i don't think we're where we need to be. you saw recently the restrictions on travel in terms of the screening has been ramped up in certain foreign airports, the ones most likely to be used by these foreign fighters to identify a certain category that would fit the terrorist profile for additional screening with respect to certain devices. that's about as far as i can go
into that subject matter. i believe that's going to be effective, but remember, we can't sustain that vigilance for more than several months and then we have to ramp things down. what i'm concerned about is when we do ramp things down again is when they decide to make their move. they're very good at backing off and waiting and then making a move. so the visa waiver, you mentioned that, i think that's something we need to be looking at because they can travel freely, and easily get into the united states. these bombs -- this is -- these briefings are very eerie. when you get briefed on the, really, level of expertise they have in bomb making and that they haven't really given up. they have not given up on blowing up airplanes. it's amazing to me. and they have this tremendous expertise to build types of bombs that could potentially get through our screening, these nonmetallic ieds they call them, like the underwear bomber.
so stopping that is very, very difficult. i think precautions are in place now at the foreign airports, but we can't keep that height of vigilance, you know, forever. >> let me return to the question of organization. tom and lee showed this chart which is a bewildering chart reflecting the organizational l structure of congressional oversig ove oversight of the tee apartment of homeland security. lee was, i thought, nicer than he needed to be on this subject because he didn't note as our report does that we complained about the department of homeland security having 88 committees and subcommittees to oversee it, and now it has 92. this is directionally wrong. presumably, you would be the recipient of a consolidated jurisdiction. so maybe this is an awkward
question to ask you, but is it achievable? is it possible that we could have the same sort of structure for homeland security that we do, for example, with defense? >> i'll be speaking at the aspen institute on saturday on this very topic. i appreciate the commission's leadership on this and calling attention to an issue that i honestly have to deal with every day. it's very, very frustrating as a chairman of a major full committee, but at the same time to be so handicapped many times. you show the chart. policy wise, we all know it's the right thing to do. politically is the problem. jurisdictions is a holy grail. other communities don't want to give up their jurisdiction. but the ripest opportunity to get this done was at the very beginning, and unfortunately it wasn't. we complain about the executive
branch siloing information, not working together, and i think congress is just as, if not more guilty of that. i'll give you just two examples. my cyber security bill has multiple referrals to other jurisdictions which requires me to have to negotiate with other committee chairmen which is fine. that's part of the teal. but one chairman can hold up that cyber bill. one chairman did hold up this cyber bill until just recently. the u.s. exit program that governor thompson referred to because judiciary has a referral, stopped that legislation from moving to the floor. i think that is counterproductive. it is dysfunctional. i think quite honestly that hurts the american people because we can't pass legislation that can protect them, and in addition, the oversight issue, reporting to almost 100 committees and subcommittees, how in the world can the secretary, jeh johnson, who i have great respect and
admiration for, how can he do his job when he's constantly preparing for testimony? and he's got a very important job, and this whole legislative shop has to do that. look at judiciary, it has the entire department of justice. hask has the entire department of defense. why in the world doesn't the committee on homeland security have jurisdiction over the entire department of homeland security and not have to deal with all these offshoots? we are passing authorization bills, this congress, to demonstrate to leadership how many other committees these bills will go to. and it's a spiderweb kind of like that chart. so an authorization for even cbp or an authorization for i.c.e. and demonstrate this is what happens to this legislation. and i want to conclude with this, because this is a very important point. if you can imagine, the department's been around for about ten years. this department has never been authorized by the united states congress. has never been authorized by the united states congress.
every other department in the federal government has been authorized by congress except for this one. i think that is shameful. and that is embarrassing. and shame on members of congress. i intend and plan to offer for the first time a full authorization bill in this next congress. and we will see how that plays out. but i hope that will demonstrate the problems, and i hope that mr. hamilton, you and your colleagues on the commission, can help us with our leadership to demonstrate why this is important. this is not about me trying to have some power-grabbing jurisdiction, it's trying to make things more effective and efficient to protect the american people. >> i would make a couple of comments myself and then move on to the next question. first comment is that nearly every recommendation that we made was implemented by congress
imposing a set of changes on the executive branch. and we were very appreciative of that. the only ones that were not implemented had to -- would have required congress to impose similar changes on itself. and that is just not right. and this has real consequences. when i was deputy attorney general of justice, i knew what the chairman and ranking member in the house and the senate of my oversight committees thought, what their reaction would be to actions that we were taking or contemplating, and that helps with the agility that we were talking about as so necessary to protect ourselves. it is not possible, i don't think, for the secretary of homeland security to test the waters with only the committees on homeland security in the house and senate.
and as hard as you may try, it is difficult for you to get each of the other 91 committees to see the whole and the importance of the whole and the tradeoffs that occur at the very top so that the department can directionally move in a cohesive way. that would be my comment on that. i want to turn to data collection. we've had a period of debate following the snowden revelations in which the debate has principally been about how much should we fear the government and what it is doing? and to be sure, our report says that there must be robust oversight. but it seems to me, and this is just a personal comment, though it is also reflected in our
report, that what is sometimes missing in that debate is an appreciation for how much robust intelligence keeps us safe. and i'm wondering if you could comment on that, on this occasion of the tenth anniversary of our report. >> yeah, and thanks for your contribution on that. i think with the former chairman of the house intelligence committee here, perhaps you want to answer that question. >> i fear the terrorists more than our government. i know it's very in vogue to say you fear the government the most. i think, as you know, we have stopped many terrorist plots through getting good intelligence by listening to foreign terrorists in foreign countries. there's been a lot of misinformation about the data collection program. but when i was on the sunday talk shows and i was asked about all this, i actually applied for fisas with the fbi, prior lifetime. we'd go through the private fund
carriers. we didn't -- at that time, i didn't envision all this data being warehoused under the nsa. i think that was sort of the sticking point was the american people thought, what, you're taking all our phone numbers and putting it under the federal government in a warehouse. so you kind of spooked a lot of americans. with our fisa reform bill, we sort of returned back to how we used to do things, going through the private phone carriers where that data exists. and i think that will give a little more ease to people's privacy, you know, concerns out there. so i think those reforms are good. i mean, i think nsa will tell you it may impact them a little bit. overall, with respect to mr. snowden, i can't tell you how much damage he has done to the national security of the united states. there is a classified document in the capitol that i've read, and it hits us on almost every level that i'm not allowed to go
into, but causing billions of dollars of damage to us, compromising our national security, particularly with respect to russia and china. and so he's not a hero in my book, he's a traitor, and i think the nsa has done great work over the years protecting americans. it's one reason we haven't had a major attack since 9/11. but i think these reforms -- finally on oversight, i did introduce a bill with adam schif, who, you know, the intelligence committee is one area with government accountability office an not really go in and to an infinite oversight investigation. so if i want to do an investigation into dhs, i can sit town with gao and say, i want you to look at "x," "y" and "z." i can see the resistance or the reluctance of them wanting to be reviewed by an independent
oversight. but i think that could be another step forward that could restore the american people's trust. >> i know you're having a hearing on this subject, but we said ten years ago that we were deeply worried about the nuclear threat and that the highest priority had to be keeping the most dangerous weapons in the world out of the hands of terrorists. can you give us a brief assessment of where you think we are in that effort? >> i think nuclear is a high damage of lower probability, but it's still a risk. i think the -- what we saw in boston was probably the threat you're going to see play out more. you look at these foreign fighters in syria trained in bomb-making capability. i think that's what you're going to see. you look at the internet, "inspire" magazine, aqap out of yemen radicalizing people in the united states to blow up things. i think that's what you're going to see. but we are still always
concerned about a weapon of mass destruction coming into the united states. how can we stop it? our ports are pretty secure with our radiation portal monitors. you know, one thing i can tell you about the southwest border is if all these kids are coming in not being stopped, 60,000 of them, it really illustrates how wide open it is and we don't know what's really coming through. now, we haven't -- we can't give you a case specific about a terrorist trying to get in, but the fact remains that that is a vulnerability for the united states until we get it secure. >> let's return, then, to the question of the lone wolves. we had major hassan, the ft. hood killer. we had the tsarnaev brothers in the boston marathon bombing. how worried are you about these individuals who take it upon
themselves to do harm to the united states? how well equipped are we to find such people and to stop them? >> well, boston was a -- i think will be a textbook case for counterterrorism students and experts for a decade when you look at the failures in that case. and not to point fingers because 20/20 is hindsight, but here we saw an individual where, albeit it was the russians, but a russian letter warns us he's going to go to dagestan and radicalize. i talked to ed davis, the chief of the boston police. they had four boston police officers on that task force. the fbi opened up what they call a guardian lead investigation, yet none of the boston police officers knew about this open investigation. so when i asked ed davis, did you know the fbi had him under investigation? he said no. did you know the russians warned
us about him? he said, no. do you know he actually left as a warrant and went to dagestan and went over there and met with the chechen rebels and radicalized? no, he didn't know that. when he came back, it was clear hamas had kicked him out. there's a lot that the state can help us. i worked for the fbi. you tdid for years. i have a lot of respect for them. but they know the streets, they're the eyes and ears, and they could have played a big role in that case to help stop, potentially stop what happened. and when i heard the response, it wouldn't have made any difference, chairman, because that case was closed. that infuriated me because when you know what? when he traveled overseas and met with chechen rebels and came back, that case should have been re-opened, and it wasn't. so all the work you did in connecting the dots, i still think there's work to be done
you know, between the fbi and the state and locals and dhs. >> so let me follow up on that, because our report does indeed say the one place among all the others where we think there has not been that much progress is that vertical sharing between the federal government and state and locals. the connection of the dots across federal agencies deed the travel, the flow of information from locals to the federal law enforcement authorities, has been excellent. it's the other way around that the inspector general of the justice department and others have said has been a failing. you worked on a joint terrorism task force in your prosecutorial days. you now chair at least a committee that has oversight over this. what can be done? >> well, i think, again, i think the boston example stressed, and
i talked to james comey, the need for fbi who do have the expertise in counterterrorism, to utilize state and locals as a force multiplier in some of these investigations. and to help monitor people like tsarnaev. like tamerlan. i think jttfs can vary. the one i worked for, frankly, the locals were very integrated. i think some things can be done through technology so that when, geez, the flag went up to travel overseas, that automatically assured through the task force between cbp and the fbi. that didn't happen. all these flags, everything that went in the wrong direction to make that happen did in that particular case. for the most part, jtfs work pretty well. that's why we stopped a lot of things from happening, but i would say in the larger cities like -- they have to be enhanced in, i think, new york, boston --
the main target cities. washington, la.a., and even in houston. i think comey is ushering in a new attitude of you have to bep. >> one of the observations we made in our report was there was that there was a failure of imagination on the part of our government prior to 9/11. that that didn't mean there weren't creative and imaginative people within the government, it meant there was no institutionalized process for imagining what al qaeda might do in the same way that there had been an institutionalized process for imagining what the soviet wrunion might do. this may sound like a very odd question, but i'd like you to try it, which is how well have we done at institutionalizing imagination in a department as sprawling as the department of homeland security? >> well, i think there is no
department of imagination. or agency. i do think that the, you know, the intelligence service, the homeland security folks, the fbi, in their own way, they do a very good job day in and day out, difficult circumstances. and i do think in their own way try to incorporate thinking about, okay, what could be the next threat? how could they apply this threat and get it into the united states? it's ratcheted up tremendously since 9/11. it's not constitutiinstitutiona. it's more of a culture and a way of thinking that needs to go forward. i think one thing in the report that got my attention was the american public's fatigue and waning interest in this topic. and unwillingness to fund koun terrorism, you know, operations.
i think that would be a huge mistake. i think i was on, again, a sunday show, i think ted koppel throughout that we spent too much money, and it's just a big monster and it's not worth it. i would argue that it is still worth it because -- i don't want to be the fearmonger type of guy. when i do get the threat briefings, it's very clear that that threat hasn't fwogone awayd has become an evolving threat. as the threat grows overseas, as it has, so, too, does the threat to the homeland because they have more capability to bring it inside. now, we've done a great job keeping them out, but it only takes, you know, 19 hijackers to do what they did. >> if you had to point to one critical observation in our report this time, it would be the danger of complacency, and that perhaps we have been the victims of our own success in
preventing another 9/11. which could lead people to believe that there really isn't a threat. one of the things that we've tried to do, both in writing this report and having an event like this one, is to say, let's pause over this for a moment and look at where the threat is and where we need to be vigilant. let me put this back -- we ten commissioners are going to go back to our day jobs and our other lives, having been exhumed for this day. but you live with this every day. what is the responsibility of a national leader to fight that complacency? and what are the tools at your disposal or at the disposal of
the president and others to do so? >> fortunately, this will not be the end today, i hope. i know you're testifying before my committee tomorrow on the 9/11 commission's report. i thank you for that. along with governor kean. but i think -- my responsibility as i see it as chairman of a national security committee, is to first and foremost be responsible in the rhetoric. there are a lot of members of congress that go on television and say crazy stuff to get attention. they may not be on tv that much, so they say crazier things to get more attention. there is an entertainment value to some of the news these days. one only turn on the tv at nighttime to see some of the craziness. i try not to put myself in that situation. i like to go on, i think, newsworthy shows that are
responsible in their reporting -- >> have you found any? >> well -- >> no offense. >> sorry. >> to the press here today. >> it is becoming more difficult. i do think the sunday shows are probably the last bastion of substantive on the issues reporting. and so i think to your question, highlighting the threat in a responsible way that's not scaring people so they don't think i'm saying the sky is falling all the time, but let them know that the threat is real. because i think galvanizing that support from the american people, that what we're doing is important still. i wish this threat was gone, but it's not. i don't think it's going to end in my generation. i hope it ends in my children's generation, but what we're dealing with is an ideology that hasn't gone away. it's a war of idealogy at the end of the day. and while drone strikes have been very effective, i think, at
killing high-valued targets, and we did take down bin laden, drone strikes, alone, can't kill an ideology.judgment, is a long term ideological struggle we're going to be in for, again, my lifetime. at the end of the day, i'm realistic because our ideology prevails. it's the right idealogy. it's not one of hatred and strapping bombs to your kids' chest and blowing them up. it's like golda meir's comment until they love their own children more than they hate us, will this end? i think at the end of the day that's where this is. i think that's why your work is important, why i've been vigilant as chairman, because i don't see this going away, and perhaps some way i can make a difference on the national stage to educate the american people in a responsible way as to what needs to be done. >> well, mike mccaul, you are a
terrific leader, and i say this not just because your thinking is so well aligned with that of the former commission members, but because you are at it every day in a way that is hard. you have to operate in an environment of secrecy, so it's very difficult for you to make the case in the way that it is made to you and that you see it and appreciate it. we have a couple of minutes, i think, for a question or two. and let me try to go across the room. yes? please get a mike and identify yourself. >> hi, i'm don wolfenssber fwrks with the wilson center. enjoyed your comments, and thank you for coming today. getting back to the turf question with other committees and whether or not it's possible to consolidate jurisdiction under your committee. i tend to agree with you that, you know, other committees don't want to give it up. i think it's unlikely that they will. so my two-part question is "a"
do you think there's some benefit to the competition? we've seen this on fisa and the phone records issue, but also do you think it is possible for you to convince the leadership when you bring up your authorization in the next congress to put deadlines for reporting on other committees so that wyou don't have the problem you've had on some legislation with other committees holding up important legislation? is the leadership committed to doing what you want to do next year? >> please give jane harmon my best. she's a real leader and a spark plug. i think that was mentioned earlier. to answer your question, i think the reason i want to do this organization bill, which has never been done, is to test this. and it's -- i have no illusions that the jurisdiction is going to change in the next congress fundamentally. maybe we can make some tweaks -- >> wait, that was before our report. >> well, you know -- >> you mean everything is not going to change tomorrow? >> i think --
>> we do not accept this. the 9/11 families do not accept this. >> i want to work with you to talk to our leadership. but i think this authorization will be a test. because it's going to fundamentally rely on me working with the other chairmen to get it done. and that's where i'm handicapped. and if i can achieve that, it will demonstrate why we need to correct in jurisdictional problem. the other piece in addition to the oversight and the burden it places on the secretary own the department, the other piece is just being able to legislate. i gave you two examples of important bills. a cyber bill that got hung up on a jurisdictional fight, and the u.s. exit fight that got hung up on a jurisdictional fight. that's the case when you talk to my leadership, jamie, is those have already happened in this congress, that these are just two illustrations of very important bills that because of jurisdiction and no other reason than jurisdiction, it's not
because of policy hangouts. it's purely on jurisdictional grounds. that has prevented thus far those bills from coming to the floor. i think we worked out the cyber piece, but that remains to be seen, so i do want to galvanize the efforts of the commission and everyone in this room to help me on that. thank you. >> yes, all the way in the back? identify yourself, please. >> i'm ahmed from the center of international policy. i want to thank all the 9/11 commission members as well as chairman mccaul for your great dynamic leadership. i know we are kind of a little bit obsessed with the isis threat and the isil threat in iraq and syria. considering that we'll be leaving afghanistan in a year or two almost in total, what do you see about the threat of al qaeda and taliban almosts, both to the homeland and otherwise to our allies, in afghanistan and pakistan? thanks.
>> it's a great question. i think this commission warned about iraq becoming a safe haven ten years ago, and you were spot-on in your recommendations. i'm concerned about the same scenario we saw in iraq playing out in afghanistan. what happened in iraq to get to where we are? i talked to a gold star mother and she said, i just wanted my son's death in fallujah to count for something, and now it's falling apart. and i think there's a combination of factors. one of which was a failure to negotiate a status of forces agreement, to have a residual force left behind. there's plenty of blame to go around on that one. we can't allow that to happen in afghanistan. if we don't have a residual force in afghanistan, the haqqani network will move in, the taliban will move in. it will be utter chaos just like what we're seeing in iraq and it will revert back to a safe haven for terrorists, and that's
precisely what we don't want to see. now, both candidates, now that you have a contested election, with potential fraud, but both candidates do support that notion. the president said he supports it, too, but on a timetable, which i'm not sure i agree with that. but having said that, i think that's vitally important and the leadership. now, malaki utterly failed to reach out and include the sunnis and the sunni tribal leaders. and now he's paying the price for that. i mean, for five years he purged his own administration. he couldn't work it out with the sunnis. and now what do we have? we have a safe haven for isis. and it is one of the saddest things. i talked to ryan crocker, the ambassador, i talked to petraeus and general kean and general austin, and they are so angry with the situation because we did awakening which got the
sunni tribal leaders behind working with the shia to kick out al qaeda. they don't like al qaeda, but maliki has been so arrogant that they'll take right now temporarily anything over malaki. and that's essentially what they're doing. i don't think at the end of the day they're going to stick with isis because they're so brutal. but for now they are. and so it's a political reconciliation, diplomatic that has to happen. i think targeted air strikes, if we can hit isis without collateral damage to the sunnis, that provides stability and eliminates a threat to the homeland at the same time, but you're absolutely right on point with afghanistan. we've put too many lives, too much, you know, as they say, blood and treasure in there to watch that one fall apart as well. and i think the iraq experience is very instructive as to how we should be dealing now with afghanistan as we pull our troops out of there. thank you for asking. >> thank you. we have time for a couple more
questions. we'll take one right here in the front. >> hi. i am a law student and becoming a patent attorney. my question is -- i'm also a muslim-american. i was 16 when 9/11 happened. obviously it was a tragic day for all of us. my hearts go out to the 9/11 families and it's really sad they had to wait for a year and a half before we actually started the investigation for what happened. my question was like you mentioned. drone strikes cannot kill an idealogy. why are we not addressing the idealogy? to that point i wanted to mention, suicide is completely forbidden in islam. words in the koran, 2195, 429, 482. these are chapters which completely forbid taking of innocent life and it says that
you will be condemned to hell and like, you know, that's the ideology. islam is all about peace. there are a billion-plus muslims all around the world. if it was founded on those harsh values, it won have survived. the ideology al ckqaeda is usin and osama bin laden, i read the 9/11, on page 47 you talk about osama bin laden's idealogy and you admit he wasn't a scholar of islam. he had no right to issue those. he misinterpreted to advocate for his grievances. and some people caught on to that in afghanistan. i want to know why are we not addressing the idealogy from islam? how many islamic scholars are working at dhs? how many at d.o.d.? how many at the intelligence? like, it's a growing threat in 16-plus countries because we haven't addressed the ideology. if we tell them, islam tells you not to kill, like, they have
nothing to fall back on. these are just petty criminals who are illiterate. if you can please comment on that. >> first of all, thank you for your comment. we did say in our report that one of the most effective tools in keeping us safe has been the effort of the muslim-american community to emphasize the points that you have been making, that islam is a peaceful religion, that the behaviors that led to 9/11 were aberrational within the religion and that that sort of violence will not be tolerated within the community. and i continue to believe that is a very important part of our continuing safety as a country. mike? >> i associate myself with those remarks. i've always said -- and i think there's an ignorance, a tendency to cascade all muslims as part of this, when in fact, it's a very small, small percentage,
probably less than 1%. i always thought the moderate muslim, as jamie said, is the most effective tool against this radical idealogy. it's a split really within the muslim community, whether sunni/shia, radical, baghdadi is now saying he's the kalif which is pretty bold. that means all muslims have to bow to him. it is that moderate -- i just came back from the middle east. you know, we were moderate muslim countries like jordan. interestingly, the crown prince of uae talked about how this very point, he said we fight alongside your soldiers in afghanistan, we don't like these terrorists. they took our religion and hijacked our religion and they pervert it. and he's more angry about it than anybody. and so, you know, i told him we're over here as ambassadors from the united states, but we're going to take your message back and be ambassadors of the
uae to the united states. to let people know there are moderate muslim leaders. i think the imams are very important. the moderate ones. to teaching, you know, the muslim world that that's really not our faith and what you're doing violates the koran. i mean, your point is right on the mark. that what they are doing violates the koran. and they are playing to a very unsophisticated, poverty and ignorance is where terrorism breeds really well, and power vacuums and safe havens. and with the arab spring we're seeing not so much of a spring, it's a bit of a winter in some places. northern africa, middle east. and so we have to deal with that. i think the, you know, state department has some programs to teal with this. but i think, you know, to your point, this is overlooked. i know karen hughes, you know,
was kind of going to be -- she was a champion for this cause. i'm not really hearing a designated point, or person that full time is onlyi incoming out about this and i think that's unfortunate and i think needs to be discussed because it, again, is not the american that's going to change, you know, the muslims' way of thinking. it's going to be within the muslim community, itself, to basically disown this radical element within its own culture. >> we have time for money were. i see mary's hand up. i'm going to ask you to give us the last question to mike. >> my name is mary, and i lost my son, brad, on 9/11 and i'm founder of voices of september 11th, and i want to thank the commission, sercertainly the leadership of governor kean and
m hamilton and the commitment they've made. i like to say we don't look ten years older, we just are. i want to thank congressman mccaul, too, for your work. i think the two things that i wanted to ask about was continuity and memory. how to we transition -- one of the big problems was transition from one administration to the other, but i see people like tim romer, senator lieberman and collins and chris shays and jim ha harmon who played such an instrumental role in congress and had an incredible understanding of the issues and being able to implement that. and i guess i'm just wondering, today, there's complacency. the homeland security department and intelligence is a sprawling
institution now. so it's difficult to assess, but i don't know that they have the same passion because they weren't directly involved in the work that we did collectively to pass the legislation. so i guess i'm wondering how you see -- how can we have an ongoing assessment of the work, you know, not every ten years, but on a regular basis, and how can you transition in congress to make sure that the people that are leading these important committees understand the emerging threat and the consequences that could be, as we suffered, the loss of loved ones in an event when the government didn't protect our country? so i'm just wondering, how can
we keep that institutional memory and the passion behind the work that was todone by the dedicated people? you know, at some point we're going to have congressmen that have no memory of 9/11. we're not there yet, but certainly if they live in other parts of the country, there's not that sense of urgency that we feel living in washington, d.c., or new york city. >> that's a -- that's a very good question. i -- the former members, some of whom are here today, can be a great advocate and voice for why this mission is so important. one of my concerns as we talked about earlier is people not thinking the mission is important anymore. i can't tell you how many colleagues on my side of the aisle talk about why do we even have a department of homeland security? you know, why don't we just, you
know, let's just do away with it. they don't know what they're talking about. they don't understand. they brnt around at 9/11 when the department was created. i also think it's leadership at the top getting the, you know, morale within the department, and i have to say this on the current secretary, i think has done in a very short period of time, helped raise the morale, remind people why their job is so important. gives, you know, award ceremonies. he has brought over a lot of department of defense expertise and personnel to the department of homeland security which i think was desperately needed. so we have some top-notch people. there's a little bit in the ics, you know, dhs, they don't know what they're doing, intelligence analysis. cia, you know, all these other ic agencies do a better job.
until we had to persuade them, look, we have our own unique intelligence products that come from cbp, that come from tsa overseas. in fact, some of the stuff our guys are getting are the most valuable about the travel of these foreign fighters, for instance. so i think it does start leadership at the top. not to knock any one particular leader, but i think the department has suffered through some slings and arrows. and i think a reminder why the department is so important is absolutely essential which is what this commission i think does in its work. when i have members telling me that why do we even have a department of homeland security? to me, that's offensive. and it's -- i think it's primarily offensive to the victims and their families from 9/11. >> i would -- thank you for that answer, mike. i would answer it slightly differently. which is, even though you didn't ask me the question, but i have the mike, so i'm going to
answer. i think it does require leadership at the top, but the lesson of this commission, both in its formation and in the efficacy in getting change made after we made our report, is that an engaged public from the bottom is what motivates action of our leadership and action in our government. now, maybe we had a unique circumstance because we had 3,000 highlighty motivated fami and a bunch of you who, you know, took that pain and channeled it into something productive and maybe we don't have that with respect to other issues or the issues of steady state security.
but to me, the thing that will make us safest is an engaged public, and we have to figure out a way to make sure people understand the threat, understand what we need to do to address that threat, understand the tradeoffs and the compromises that need to be made in order to keep us safe and free. i think that your work as 9/11 victims' families was the key to what we were able to do, and if we could replicate that in some way short of having another disaster, that would be a great thing for keeping us safe and free. and with that, we have -- i know there are lots of other questions and i apologize for not having been able to get to all of them, but i --
[ inaudible ] >> but i represent the people that they represent. i was at the world trade when the first plane went in. i saw the second plane go in. we were not victims. we stayed. we rescued people. we talk about the things that happen, what doesn't work. l let's talk about what does work. what work do the firemen and the rescuers and the police worked there, yeah, but the civilians in an organized way, not divided, not discriminating, not caring about their own lives, used their lives to get people away in an orderly fashion, and they stood there not knowing if a bus was going to pull up, if a truck was going to pull up, if people were going to come out with guns.
because we were americans. and we were proud to be americans. so we need to stop playing the games that we play. we need to go into our communities and say, stop the fighting. and as a country, personally, economically, and even politically stand strong and build from within. countries do not fall because of what happens overseas. they fall because of what happens within. we got a war to fight. it's our communities. it's our relationships. it's our children. so we need whatever can be done to bring us together. i say this right now because
when the tower fell, we were all there on the street across from the tower with the police and rescuers, rescue workers and the firemen right there. and it fell. and i ran. and the people running next to me got hit and i'm only alive -- they all died. because i jumped in a -- so in the spirit of those who died, let's stop the foolishness. let's support the efforts that you all have and let's build those same efforts in our communities because this is the only way we will stand. thank you. [ applause ] >> on that stirring note of reminding us that our nation's
strength rests on our unity, i want to thank everybody here for your participation in this panel. and thank you, mike mccaul. thank you. saturday marks the 40th anniversary of richard nixon's resignation as president of the united states. this week, "american history tv" looks back at the summer of 1974 and president nixon's last days in august. tonight, the house judiciary committee's impeachment hearings against president nixon. we'll get opening statements from members of the committee starting with its chairman, new jersey congressman peter rodino. that starts tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3's "american history tv" and on our c companion network c-span, western conservative summit
where sarah palin called on the impeachment of president obama. >> these days you hear politicians denouncing barack obama saying he ignores court orders and changes laws by fiat and refuses to enforce laws that he just doesn't like. that's true, but the question is, hey, politicians, what are you going to do about it? [ applause ] let's call their bluff. i'm calling their bluff because we need a little less talk and a lot more action. there's only one remedy for a president who commits high crimes and misdemeanors, and it's impeachment. it's the "i" word. >> you can see all of sarah palin's remarks and other speaks from this year's western conservative summit tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span.
the president of the national center for missing and exploited children testified before congress last month at a hearing on sex trafficking. he talked about the role of parents, teachers, and law enforcement in combatting crimes against children. indiana congressman todd rokita chaired the hearing. >> quorum being present, the subcommittee on early childhood elementary and secondary education will come to order. good morning, everyone. we're pleased to hear today from mr. jon ryan, the president and chief executive officer of the national center for missing and exploited children, or ncmac, correct? mr. ryan will give us an update on the important work and how legislative changes enacted last year are enhancing the efforts of this vital organization. at a ceremony opening the
national center for missing and exploited children, president ronald reagan said, "all americans, and especially our youth, should have the right and the opportunity to walk our streets, to play, and to grow, and to live their lives without being at risk." spoken 30 years ago, president reagan's words are just as true now as they were back then. and if we are truly fighting for all people, so that they can build better lives for themselves and their families, one of the key things we must be doing is everything we can to enhance the safety of their children. no child should be afraid to walk home from school, hang out with friends at the mall, or surf the internet, yet sadly, we know that's just not the case. too often a predator is lurking in the shadows ready to do harm. each year, thousands of children go missing or fall victim to sexual exploitation and other heinous crimes. as the father of two young boys, i cannot fathom the pain and
sufferings the families are forced to bear. no one can. we can do something about it. for 30 years a national private/public partnership has worked together. the organization provides services, resources and other assistance to victims of abduction and sexual exploitation as well as their families and those who serve them. the center's 24-hour cyber tip line has provided law enforcement with more than 2.3 million leads of suspected child sexual exploitation. on its own, this would constitute a stellar record, but the tip line is only one part of a larger effort. the center also manages a national database on missing children, organizing case management teams to serve as a single point of contact for families, and offers training and technical assistance to law enforcement and professionals working in health care and the juvenile justice system. these are just a few of the services and support provided each and every day. the only way to describe the work of the staff is heroic. they are making a difference in
the lives of countless children and families. in fact, just this year i read in partnership with the fbi and deprmt of justice, ncmac participated in operation cross-country eight. this is a week-long national campaign led to the arrest of 281 child traffickers and the rescue of 168 children. besting its work from the prior year. however, we all know that despite these achievements, more work needs to be done. to help support that effort, last year congress passed the e. clay shaw jr. missing children's assistance reauthorization act. this legislation extended our partnership with nicmac while providing additional accountability and oversight protections. the law also includes reforms to encourage greater coordination between law enforcement states and schools. as one of many partners, congress cannot stop there. there is more that can and should be done on behalf of these vulnerable youth.
toward that end, a number of important proposals were introduced to strengthen our commitment to the youth who are victims of sex trafficking. while no legislation can provide a perfect solution, the bills forward last week will move our country in the right direction. protecting children has been and must remain a national priority. mr. ryan, i would like to thank you and your staff, that yours and their hard work and dedication. as a committee, congress and nation, let's continue working together so we can, as president reagan said, turn the tide on these hateful crimes. with that, i'll recognize the senior democratic member of the subcommittee, congressman david loebsack for his opening comments. congressman? >> i thank the chairman for convening today's important oversight hearing and thank you, mr. ryan, for joining us today to provide an update on the activities in ncmec. as a father and grandfather, i, too, can only imagine the terror experienced by the parents of a
missing child. parents in the midst of this trauma need the full support of law enforcement, of schools, other programs designed to locate and recover missing or exploited children. of course, this is where the national center for missing and exploited children comes in. since its creation in 1984, through the missing children's assistance act, this private non-profit organization has provided assistance, outreach, and support to missing and exploited children and their families. ncmec is tasked with coordinating federal efforts to locate, recover, or reunite missing children with families as well as efforts to reduce and end child sexual exploitation and trafficking. founded in response to several high profile child abduction, the center works with law enforcement to rapidly respond to the approximately 10,000 to 13,000 missing children reports they receive each year. ncmec is also a partner in the amber alert program.
the nation's child abduction alert system. named for amber hagerman. a 9d-year-old abducted and murdered in texas in 1996. the alerts are delivered widely. through text message, highway traffic signs. as of this may, 692 children have been successfully recovered as a result of amber alerts. just last week, three missing girls in iowa were recovered thanks to a swiftly dispatched amber alert. further, ncmec offers training and technical assistance to law enforcement in identifying sex offenders, provides guidance and information to community partners on how to effectively locate and identify missing children and operates a tip line for reporting missing children. in recent years the center has seen its workload increase dramatically, unfortunately. in fact, the number of complaints of child sex trafficking increased 1,000% from 2004 to 2008. additionally, the internet has increased the risk of youth exploitation and internet crimes against children and child pornography cases continue to rise.
last september, congress reauthorized the missing children's assistance act and updated the roll of the national center for exploited and missing children to reflect this landscape. a requirement that ncmec coordinate with the inner agency council on homeless nns, in order to address the the high number of homeless youth who are victims of sex trafficking. runaway and homeless youth are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation and trafficking. last year one in seven endangered runaways reported to ncmec were living sex traffic, or likely sex trafficking victims. many of these youth were in the care of social services. or foster care when they ran away and may have experienced sexual abuse before they left their homes. these children are at an increased risk of falling victim to sexual exploitation, or engaged in what's called survival sex in exchange for
food, shelter, or money. i'm eager to get an update on how ncmec is coordinating with services for homeless and runaway youth to prevent children from ending up in these devastating circumstances. i also recognize there's still more we must do to prevent children from becoming victims in the first place. despite the best effort of ncmec, more than 10,000 kids still go missing each year. and scores of children are forced into sexual exploitation and trafficking. i look forward to hearing from you, mr. ryan, on what federal supports you believe needs to be to change this. it's also important to note that runaway and homeless youth act is up for reauthorization this year. but at this point, there's been no movement in this committee to carry out that reauthorization. this law complements the missing children's assistance by providing targeted assistance to homeless youth through initiatives like the basic
center program, which provides youth with emergency shelter, food, clothing, and medical care. by reducing the number of runaways and homeless kids on the streets with nowhere to go, we can lower the risk of exploited children. as we move forward, it's critical that we provide ncmec with all the resources it needs to carry out its mission including adequate funding. thank you, again, mr. chair, for convening this hearing. as we can see, we have a lot of challenges ahead of us, and i look forward to hearing from you, mr. ryan, about how we can address those challenges. thank you. >> i thank the gentleman. pursuant to committee rule 7c, all members will be permitted to written statements. without objection, the hearing record will remain open for 14 days to allow such statements and other extraneous material to be submitted for the official hearing record. it's now my pleasure to introduce our distinguished witness, mr. john ryan is the president and chief executive officer of the national center for missing and exploited
children here in washington, d.c. he has served in that position since december of 2013. mr. ryan, before i recognize you to provide your testimony, let me briefly explain the lighting system. five minutes to summarize your written testimony. when you begin, the light will be green. when there's one minute left, it will be yellow. please make sure you're finished up by the red light. that's more of a reminder for us up here. sometimes than it is for you. but after you're done, i'll recognize members who will each have five minutes to ask their questions and out of deference to my colleagues, i'm going to offer to make my questioning last so we can get theirs in first and accommodate their schedules. with that, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and distinguished members of the subcommittee. i welcome this opportunity to -- continually expanding to respond to a threat of our nation's children.
as you know, the national center is a private non-profit organization designated by congress to work in partnership with the justice department and funded by both the public and private sectors. the national center's unique publish/private partnership. government agencies, military branches, private industry, other non-profits and public communities to build a coordinated national response to the problem of missing and sexually exploited children. in april of this year, we commemorate 30 years of operation during which our national toll free hot line has handled more than 4 million calls. we've distributed literally billions of missing child posters, assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 160,000 missing children, coordinated the secondary distribution of amber alerts, leading to the recovery of 695 abducted children and provided emotional support to families.
we trained more than 300,000 law enforcement, criminal justice, military prosecutors, and health care professionals. processed more than 2.6 million cyber tip line reports of suspected child sexual exploitation and reviewed more than 115 million images and videos of apparent child pornography to assist law enforcement in identifying these victimized children. to date, nearly 6,000 children have been identified through clues gleaned from these images. the national center's done a lot to make our children safer, but this organization is needed more now than ever. the world is a different place than it was 30 years ago. the internet has transformed life in many positive ways, but it has also fostered an explosion of child pornography, literally images of violent sexual assaults against children that are traded amongst offenders from all walks of life.
the internet has inspired new crimes with names like online enticement, and sextortion and has become a thriving marketplace for selling children for sex. many children today have cell phones which function the same as computers. this is why it's vital that we work even more closely with our nation's schools to help educate them about the dangers on the internet and the real world. as part of our recent reauthorization, you gave us the authority to provide more resources to state and local educational agencies. we have started to use this new authority to expand our programs to protect more children. among our expanded initiatives with schools are new prevention curriculums, such as our kid smarts prevention curriculum which includes lesson plans and teaching tools set to launch this summer in time for the new school year. we've also been working to develop more age-specific, grade-level appropriate online
curriculum and related educational resources for teachers to download from our website to use directly in their classrooms. when i became president of ncmec two years ago, i was appalled at the number of children being openly sold for sex on websites like back page. technology has changed the playing field. a customer can shop online from the privacy of a home or hotel room and a child will be delivered to their door. as part of our work to combat child sex trafficking, we assist the fbi with operation cross country as has been mentioned. that was headquartered at our center and led to the recovery of 168 children over a 3-day period and the arrest of 281 pimps and predators. one example was a 16-year-old who reported to her mother that she ran away from a group home because she was being recruited by gangs. the mother took the initiative, looked up back page, saw